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Full text of "My Country And My People"

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According to this theory of knowledge, truth cannot be
proved, although it may be grasped by the mind in a "dialectic
without words" (Chuangtse). One "knows it is so without
knowing why it is so." "Tiz0, or truth, is that which we know
not the manner of," It can therefore be felt only by a sort of
intuitive perception. The Chinese, without all consciously
accepting this Chuangtsean epistemology, essentially agree
with it. Instead of relying on logic, which is never developed
as a science, they rely on the perhaps healthier common sense.
Anything like cogent reasoning is unknown in Chinese litera-
ture, for the Chinese inherently disbelieve in it. Consequently
no dialectic has been evolved, and the scientific treatise as a
literary form is unknown.

Bernhard Karlgren recently wrote a paper showing the
fallacies of many arguments used by Chinese "higher critics"
in proving the genuineness or spuriousness of ancient works.
Some of the mistakes really seem childish, but they only seem
so after the application of the Western method. A Chinese
never writes a treatise of ten thousand, or even five thousand,
words to establish a point. He puts down only a note about
it, leaving it to be sustained or disproved by posterity on its
intrinsic merit. That is why Chinese scholars always bequeath
to us so many collections of "notebooks," called shuipi orpichi,
consisting of unclassified paragraphs, in which opinions on
the authorship of literary works and corrections of errors in
historical records are mixed up with accounts of Siamese
twins, fox spirits and sketches of a red-bearded hero or a
centipede-eating recluse.

A Chinese author presents you with one or two arguments
and then states his conclusions: in reading him, you seldoir
see him arriving at the conclusion, for the arguments anc
evidences are never long, but you see in a flash that he already
has it. The best of such notebooks, like the Jih-chih-lu of Ki
Yenwu (beginning of the seventeenth century), establish thei]
reputation, not by their logic but by the essential correctnesi
of their statements, which can only be proved or disproved b^
posterity. The writing of two or three lines in Ku's Notebooi
was sometimes the result of years of research and investigation
enouerh. and the determination of a singL